Around this time last year my twins were starting kindergarten and coming home every week with a new sight word or two to memorize. It was around this time that I started paying more attention to the easy reader section at the library and woah, is it confusing!
Different publishers use different level systems and there is little, if any, regulation for what it means to label a book a certain level. So what can your kindergartner really read without dissolving in a puddle of frustrated tears?
As the year progressed, I came up with a system.
I went through the entire easy reader section at our library. Based on the knowledge of a few books my kids could handle, I gauged what was actually easy enough for the earliest reader regardless of the level stamped on the front cover.
Then I made a basket on our reading shelf with books they could read. These were books they could pull out and read to me or to themselves with only a teensy bit of help.
These are books that made them feel like they were in fact getting the hand of this complex reading thing. I want that for your kindergartner too!
8+ Books New Readers Can Actually Read
These are the most basic books. My kindergartners could read this early on in the year when they only knew a few words.
1. Happy Cat by Steve Henry
Super simple text but a sweet story about a house full of animals.
2. Usborne Very First Reading Series
We love these books. They grow with your early reader starting with the most basic level. What is fun about them is that the parent and child reads together. The parent reads one side and the child reads the other.
3. Printable Emergent Readers
Some of my blogging peers have created collections of emergent readers because they are so hard to find for this early reader group. These are on a wide range of subjects and are a great resource for kindergarteners.
One Step Up
These are still for very early readers. They still have few words on each page and tend to rely on sight words that your kindergartner is learning at school.
4. Fun with Ed and Fred by Kevin Bolger
These are GENIUS. They use 50 basic sight words but still manage to tell a hilarious story primarily through the awesome illustrations. There are two in this series and we own both. If you’re going to purchase just one easy reader this is it folks.
5. Go, Otto, Go! by David Milgrim
The Adventures of Otto series is all super simple stories about a little robot named Otto, but they are interesting and fun.
6. Trucktown Dizzy Izzy by Jon Scieszka
This book has few words but is a silly book that kids will enjoy reading. There are also a few in this series, but this is the most basic.
7. The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
A lot of Dr Seuss books, while simple, are too difficult for true early readers. This book however has much fewer words than most and the non-sight words are pretty easy to figure out from the illustrations.
8. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
This classic picture book is perfect for early readers. The text is brief and consistently repetitive. The words that do change are easy to figure out based on the illustrations. Plus it is a super fun book.
Believe me, soon you will be on to more exciting things like Elephant and Piggie and beyond but these will make your little reader feel confident and capable right now.